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Messages - rbowers

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Equipment and Software / Re: Pumps
« on: November 20, 2012, 09:22:47 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  Most of these upgrades are aimed at eventually building a brewstand and I think the pump would be a solid addition, not to mention save my back moving large pots of hot wort up and down various levels.  The convenience factor would be a plus.  It seems the chugger SS models is not too much more than the march pump so all things being equal maybe that's the way to go.

Equipment and Software / Pumps
« on: November 20, 2012, 03:26:58 PM »
Doing some research on pumps and trying to decide on one to upgrade some features of my homebrewing setup.  Does anyone have opinions on the march pumps vs. chugger pump, or another brand?  I like the idea of a SS head if its not too pricey.  Need it to withstand boiling temps.

Ingredients / spice amounts?
« on: October 24, 2012, 08:18:01 AM »
I am brewing up a holiday ale tonight with a belgian dark strong ale as the base, 6 gallon batch.  OG ~1.075, IBU ~ 17.   I was a little unsure on the amounts of spices but this is what I have so far:

2 sticks cinnamon
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
1 oz peeled fresh ginger (minced)

I am also throwing in 1lb of dark brown sugar for some of the fermentables.

I was going to add all at 10 minutes left in boil unless someone can advise otherwise.  Does anyone have a critique on the amounts?  Should the cinnamon be ground up prior to adding? 

Beer Recipes / Saison de Noel
« on: October 12, 2012, 12:10:12 PM »
With the holidays around the corner I am planning a saison de noel for my holiday brew this year.  I'm looking to have a pretty high OG ~1.070-1.080.  Ive done a little research on typical recipes and this is what I've come up with thus far:

6gal batch

12 lb Belgian Pils
4 lb Munich
.25 lb Carafa II
1 lb Caramunich
0.25 lb Special B

1oz Aramis Hops @ 60 (8.1%AA)
.25oz Aramis Hops @ 20 (8.1%AA)
* I was looking for Strisselspalt hops but can't seem to find right now (aramis is apparently similar with higher AA%)

Yeast: Wyeast Farmhouse Ale, Belgian Ardennes, White Labs Saison Blend or other saison yeast

Mash 150F x 75 min

I'm a little up in the air with the yeast selection as I have not brewed this style before.  I enjoyed the Ardennes strain in a belgian IPA but not sure how it would do in this particular brew.  Suggestions?

Ingredients / Ideas for Sorachi Ace
« on: October 10, 2012, 07:38:44 AM »
I have had 3 oz of sorachi ace hops lying around that I haven't been able to come up with a great idea for.  Never used them before.  I was curious what everyone's thoughts might be on potential styles, good hop pairings, etc.  I have heard they can lend an oily, diacetyl type flavor to beer- is this anyone else's experience?  Are there ways to avoid this such as limiting it to early or late additions? 
The only beer I've had that I can remember this hop was Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace which I enjoyed.
I was thinking maybe a belgian IPA or a lighter beer such as an off-style kolsch (but with more hop flavor aroma).  A traditional IPA would also be good but I'm unsure what hops may go well with it.  I'm all ears

Yeast and Fermentation / Roeselare and secondary fermentation
« on: September 08, 2012, 12:49:19 PM »
So I brewed up my first Flanders red attempt recently.  I pitched wyeast 1056 + roeselare.  It showed a lot of activity for 4 or 5 days then stopped but now appears to be picking back up.  I want to rack off the yeast that dropped out but I am unsure when the best time to do this is.  Will it still form a pedicle if I rack it off now?

Beer Recipes / Re: Emptying the hop tray
« on: September 06, 2012, 11:01:28 AM »
So this looks messy but maybe something like this?

60min- 0.8oz Columbus + 0.2oz magnum (~25 IBU)
15min- 1oz cascade + 0.5 oz simcoe (~10 IBU)
0min- 1oz cascade + 0.5 oz simcoe + 1 oz mt hood
Dry Hop: 1oz cascade + .25 oz centennial + 0.2 oz Columbus + 1oz mt hood

Total ~ 35 IBU

The amounts seems strange but this is a "use up the spare hops" kinda recipe.

I could always up the magnum to leave more Columbus for a dry hop.

It'll be interesting to see the mix of the mt hood with the others for aroma.  Let me know what you think.

Beer Recipes / Emptying the hop tray
« on: September 06, 2012, 08:37:08 AM »
I need some suggestions for an upcoming recipe.  I'm trying to use up some hops left over in the freezer from previous batches/what I have lying around.  The beer will be a 10gal batch of American Amber with a malt bill of 65% 2 row, 20% munich and some crystal 40/120, victory and a little wheat.
My hops available are:
3 oz Sorachi Ace (originally destined for Belgian IPA)
1 oz simcoe
2 oz cascade
1 oz Columbus
2 oz mt hood
2 oz willamette
.25 Oz centennial
.5 oz chinook
.5 oz magnum

My original plan was to use the Columbus for bittering, cascade additions at 15 and 5 min.  But I get a bit lost after that.  The simcoe would probably be good as a late addition.  The centennial will likely just get tossed in at the end.  I'm not sure where the mt hood and willamette (or the sorachi ace) could fit in.  Ive always used willamette and mt hood in my english ales and like them there but haven't used them in any hoppy american style ales. Chinook and magnum would be alternatives for bittering.  Shooting for about 35-45 IBU.  Yeast will be split between wyeast NW ale 1332 and San Diego super strain.  I'm all ears.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: 4 or 5 keg fridge
« on: August 29, 2012, 06:32:49 PM »
I built my keezer about a year ago with plans for 4 taps.  I think it is a 8cf chest freezer from Sears and it works great.  I've got room for four cornies in the bottom and can put the co2 tank on the compressor shelf.  I've also been able to find a few shorter/fatter cornies that fit just right on the shelf and work good for lagering or flash chilling some batches.  I recently "had to" bottle a batch I plan to age a bit and man that is a process I don't miss at all.  Search around for different plans and find what may work best for you- plenty of options.  Good luck.  My only I wish I had 6 taps.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« on: August 29, 2012, 06:20:05 PM »
My first foray into kegging with force carbonation used a fast carb shaking method.  Didn't come out so great- it involved beer in my regulator and on the ceiling of the garage.  I've since learned to be patient and ride out 12 psi for 5 or 6 days (doesn't help you much in your particular situation).  My only advice is definitely let it rest for at least a few hours if you go the fast force carb route.  Otherwise it's all foam.

Kegging and Bottling / Belgian corks
« on: August 25, 2012, 02:44:39 PM »
So I just spent a large chunk of time corking up some beer in some nice Belgian bottles + wire cappers.  I know with aging the corks can dry out but in what timeline does this become a concern?  The bottles will need to carbonate for 10 days or so.  When do they need to be laid on their side to keep corks moist and sealed?  I don't want to increase the headspace and risk oxidation by laying them on their side right now.  Any suggestions?

Beer Recipes / Re: Flanders attempt- initial recs
« on: August 17, 2012, 06:00:13 AM »
I'm not sure how much the bugs will deal with the residual sweetness but I know the goal is a pretty dry beer.  That seems like a lot of special B- I've used it in a few beers and a little seems to go a long way.  I assume the silicone bung is solid or is there a need for an airlock?

Beer Recipes / Re: Suggestions for Saison
« on: August 16, 2012, 06:57:30 PM »
I tried using mango in a wit beer and I also could barely pick it up.  Seems like you have to use a pretty large amount I guess.  I'm not sure if i will be going that route again though.

Beer Recipes / Flanders attempt- initial recs
« on: August 16, 2012, 06:53:14 PM »
I got excited about trying to brew a Flanders red ale these past few weeks and have done some initial research in preparation for the brew day (8/31).  I have some general questions though:
I am going to use the wyeast roselare blend but I've read a lot about pitching a primary clean sacc ale yeast first then rack to secondary with roselare.  Doing a straight ferment with the blend from the get go seems to yield a much more sour end beer vs. a primary fermentation followed by the bugs.  I'm leaning towards the latter option as I don't want something too sour for my first run at this.  Any recs?  How long do you let the initial sacc ferment go- completion? 5 days?
It seems deliberately under pitching and under oxygenating will help leave some fuel for bugs.
A high mash (158F?) also seems to leave additional fuel for bugs after primary ferment?  What about a shortened mash time(~45min?).  Does the roselare blend have the capacity to dry out otherwise unfermentable portions of a typical wort over time?
In terms of oak chips in the secondary I assume they stay in the whole time?  A little goes a long way over a year I imagine
The last concern comes with the extended aging.  I've read a lot about the need for micro-oxygenation over the year long maturation with the bugs.  What is the best way to achieve this?  The dowel in the stopper seems easy enough- does this require maintenance? If the initial yeast is pitched onto underoxygenated wort should i i try to oxygenate it after pitching the blend or will transfer to a secondary (not evacuated with CO2) suffice.  Does the dowel need to be down in the beer or just above in the headspace?  What is a good aging temp over the course of the year?
Again this will all be new to me so any suggestions are greatly appreciated.  The time investment on this beer really makes me want to get it right or at least get it close to good.  Thx in advance

Kegging and Bottling / 750mL bottle carbing
« on: August 13, 2012, 05:39:06 AM »
Is there any changes that need to be made for carbonating beer with corn sugar in 750mL bottles versus the normal 12oz bottles.  I have usually used 1cp corn sugar per five gallons in a normal beer.  Has anyone ever used the carbing calculators online to adjust carbonation for a higher level? 

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